Thursday, January 23, 2014

Busy hands

The first few days of 2014 were full of happy busyness, because Julie brought craft kits for gifts. Lots of fun was had by all.

Now I just want to write about "Second Christmas," and then I think I'll be caught up.

Monday, January 20, 2014


I usually say that getting visas and residency in Ukraine is doable, but that it takes a lot of work. Will started that work last week for the year ahead. Please be praying for him as he wades into this in a new region. The requirements can vary some, and he has to get to know all new officials and offices.

I might try to keep up with everything and give a blow-by-blow description of the process. So, Thursday he went out and found the first office that people said he needed to go to. They weren't open, but he at least got their office hours. Friday he went back, learned that he has to start at another office and found it, but it was already too late in the day. He'll go back there on Tuesday, since they're closed on Mondays....

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Orphanage days

I'm settling into a schedule of visiting an orphanage across the river every Saturday. Remember the picnic we were invited to back in August? These are the same kids. They all have physical handicaps, and many are classified as mentally handicapped, too.

There was a bit of running around to get me in there. I know a lot of you prayed. They're under quarantine and very strict about who can have contact with the kids. So, I had a chest x-ray done to prove that I don't have TB. Obviously, I don't. But, they wrote on the paper that I have bronchitis. (Huh? I felt fine. Our only guess is that it was left over from a cold I had gotten over a month before that.) So, on my first try to visit the orphanage, the nurse wouldn't let me in at all. But, the missionary I'm helping has friends in high places.  She connected me with the head of the regional lung cancer ward, so that I was able to get a paper saying that my bronchitis was "in remission." And then, with everyone praying, I went back the next week and got in, no questions asked.

I've been translating while my friend teaches Bible lessons, and then just helping with whatever activity she has planned and playing with the kids. They love the attention, and we love giving it. Games of Uno and Candy Land after the lessons are very intense and exciting. And the chattering! The verbal kids love to have a captive audience to talk to, and even the non-verbal ones like to be heard. (There's one boy who seems to have his own sign language, and it makes me sad that I can't understand what he's saying... yet? Maybe I'll learn.) We usually visit both a boys group and a girls group each time. Today we also got to visit with the littlest ones who are in the worst condition, and we fed one of them his lunch.

And now I'm so tired that I'm having trouble keeping my eyes open. I think I'll go to bed at the same time as all the little people here, and they're brushing their teeth already now. Good night!

*I can't post pictures of the kids we're working with, so you get one of Bogdan at home enjoying leftovers after we decorated Christmas cookies in the orphanage last week. So much fun!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Quick links

  • I posted bumpy video before. Here is a much better video of the Christmas program that our girls sang in. It was taken by a friend who is a professional videographer.
  • I recently sent out our fall prayer letter. (I think? There was no response, maybe it didn't actually send?) Also, did you know that you can join our mailing list on the "About us" page, over there? -->
  • Will has been working on the Agape English site, and he's made some great progress. It's still under construction, but take a look. Русский сайт здесь.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

С Новым Годом!

We had a really fun, quiet New Year celebration. I have the photos all in the wrong order here, and I can't move them around. But then we celebrated all in the "wrong" order anyway. Russians and Ukrainians don't even sit down to eat until midnight. We had supper (without olivier; everyone is asking) at our usual time. Then we opened presents. There were lots this year! After presents we went out to do some early fireworks. Since the houses are pretty close together we walked out to the very edge of the city... and that just meant that we ended up launching something on to the roof of a much bigger and fancier house than we would have hit here. Oops. But no one was home, and it didn't do any damage. Then back home and to bed. Yes, before 2014. At midnight we discovered that private houses are the place to be for a real fireworks show. Wow. People in this part of the world know how to celebrate with fireworks, but the amount that we are used to around apartment buildings doesn't even compare with what we saw this time. I even tried to wake Jaan up to show him. Raia woke up on her own, and we watched the show through our windows. Happy New Year to all!

Ready to eat
All the boys planning with Jaan's new toy
Lots of presents!
Raia made presents for everyone.
Asleep with his presents later
After fireworks
Also enjoying their presents

Friday, January 10, 2014

Another Happy Day!

They spent two nights in a row on buses, just for one day with us. Now that is dedication! We are so thankful.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

С Рождеством Христовым!

It's Christmas! The sun came out today, for the first time in almost two weeks. It's been strange to have winter holidays without any snow, but the sun made up for that today.

Christmas sunshine!

The second photo is actually from the last day of Advent. Merry Christmas to all! I will tell more about our holidays and post lots of photos one day soon. Right now we're going to go out to see the lights and decorations in the center of town.

Saturday, January 04, 2014